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British Sign Language teacher

British Sign Language (BSL) teachers teach sign language to children, young people and adults, and teach other subjects using sign language.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

16 to 30 term time

You could work: evenings; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 7% more British Sign Language teacher jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on the age group you're working with, but you may:

  • plan and prepare lessons
  • teach students to learn sign language
  • teach curriculum subjects to pupils, using sign language
  • set project work and mark essays and exams
  • check students' progress
  • work with staff teams to develop new courses and teaching materials
  • talk to parents and carers about students' progress
  • take part in meetings and events like open days
  • attend professional development training courses
  • maintain and update student records

Working environment

You could work at a school, at a special needs school, at a language school, at a college or in the community.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • training with a professional body

You can do a foundation degree or a degree in British Sign Language (BSL) and deaf studies.

Some knowledge of BSL will be helpful when you apply, though this is not always essential.

Universities will want to know about your reasons for applying and will assess your BSL skills before you start.

After finishing your course, you could go on to complete a teaching qualification, like a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), which you may need if you want to teach in schools.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You can do a Level 1 and 2 Certificate in British Sign Language (BSL) before moving on to a higher level qualification.

Employers including schools and colleges usually look for a minimum of a Level 3 or 4 Certificate in British Sign Language. Some will ask for a Level 6 Certificate.

You'll also be expected to have a qualification in your own subject area aside from BSL, and usually a teaching award. For example a Level 4 or 5 Diploma in Education and Training to teach in a college.

For more information

You can start as a sign language teaching assistant or communication support worker and do training on the job to get a British Sign Language (BSL) qualification at level 3 or higher. You can then do further study for a teaching or training qualification to become a BSL teacher.

You can also train in BSL, if you're already working as a teacher in a school or college.

Other routes

You can complete British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications with a professional body like Signature or the Institute of British Sign Language. These organisations offer qualifications from introductory level up to level 6.

It is recommended that you work towards a Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language, if you want be a BSL teacher.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a British Sign Language teacher from Signature and the Institute of British Sign Language.

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You could become a British Sign Language (BSL) teaching co-ordinator in a school or college, or take on responsibility for building links with employers to offer work experience opportunities to students.

You could also do further training to broaden your employment options, including courses in lipspeaking, deafblind communication and deaf awareness.

You could work freelance or set up your own BSL teacher agency, supplying teachers who have BSL skills.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of English language
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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